“Revolutionary solidarity is, above all, a revolutionary practice. What this means is that it carries within itself the aims of revolution. For this reason, as anarchists, we cannot base solidarity on any authoritarian or economic foundations. It is not a matter of obligation, duty, or debt. No one owes anyone solidarity, regardless of what they have done or what they are going through. Rather the basis of solidarity is the recognition of one’s own struggle in that of others – in other words, complicity. This is of major importance. If solidarity is the recognition of my own struggle in the struggle of others, it is carried out in practice precisely through continuing that struggle, continuing to attack this social order, and doing so with a focus on what unites my struggle with that of others.”
-“Revolutionary Solidarity: A Challenge” by Wolfi Landstreicher
On the morning of May 3rd, members of the Portland Police Bureau broke into and ransacked Pax’s house and arrested him on 36 felony charges of Criminal Mischief and 36 felony charges of Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Mischief. The police claimed this arrest was the result of a two-year ongoing investigation and that further arrests are possible. Bail was initially set to $360,000, an absurd amount considering the relatively minor crimes of which Pax is being accused. After the initial court appearance 64 charges were dropped and the state lowered its ransom fee to $40,000, only $4000 of which actually had to be paid. Friends and community members pooled resources to bail him out. At the arraignment one more charge of Criminal Mischief and one more charge of Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Mischief were added, bringing the total to 10 felonies.
Pax is a proud anarcho-communist with a fierce and uncompromising commitment to anti-oppression and liberation. He is known for his goofy humor and love of anarchist banners. He has been involved in various anarchist projects since his teens.
It is important to note the context in which Pax’s arrest occurred. Over the last few years an insurrectionary anarchist milieu in Portland has emerged, despite the overwhelmingly activism-oriented tendencies of the visible anarchist scene in town. Just in the last year there have been attacks on an Umpqua Bank, multiple branches of Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, US Bank, Bank of America, Key Bank, as well as Starbucks. According to communiqués and news reports, most of the attacks have consisted of rocks through windows. So far no one has been caught engaging in any these acts of resistance. Pax has very clearly become a scapegoat for these acts – the police want to make an example of him.
The police clearly recognize some truth in the old Wobbly maxim “an injury to one is an injury to all,” and we must as well. By kidnapping Pax on some extremely trumped-up charges, they hope to scare the rest of us into passivity and complacency. But locking up our friend won’t lessen our hatred for capitalism and the state – if anything, they have stoked the fires in our hearts that we one day hope to see actualized as fires to every police station, bank, prison, and border.
We must extend our support to Pax, but also recognize our own struggle in his struggle for freedom. We must see ourselves not as benevolent charity workers lessening the pain for someone unfortunately caught up in as government witch-hunt, but as comrades, as co-conspirators, and as friends with Pax and with whomever committed the attacks of which Pax is being accused. For a permanent practice of revolutionary solidarity! Until every prison is razed to the ground we are at war!
For updates on Pax’s legal situation visit www.freepax.org. His next court appearance is July 2nd at 1:30pm at the Multnomah County Courthouse.